The Batman is one of this year's most anticipated propositions, a dark, toiling, near three-hour comic book epic that promises to put a fresh spin on the iconic DC superhero. Director Matt Reeves collaborates with Robert Pattinson, here making his debut as Bruce Wayne/Batman, a fledgling crime-fighter who's locked in a deadly battle with the fiendish Riddler (Paul Dano).
Reeves says that the film's tone and visual aesthetic, captured by Dune cinematographer Greig Fraser, owes itself to many different influences. It's already been reported that the comic books Batman: Year One and Batman: The Long Halloween are highly influential, but it turns out there are multifaceted elements contained within Reeves' movie.
“Early on, when I was writing, I started listening to Nirvana," Reeves tells Esquire, "and there was something about [Nevermind song] ‘Something in the Way’, which is in the first trailer, which is part of the voice of that character. When I considered, ‘How do you do Bruce Wayne in a way that hasn’t been seen before?’ I started thinking, ‘What if some tragedy happened [ie: Wayne sees his parents murdered] and this guy becomes so reclusive, we don’t know what he’s doing? Is this guy some kind of wayward, reckless, drug addict?’ And the truth is that he is a kind of drug addict. His drug is his addiction to this drive for revenge. He’s like a Batman Kurt Cobain.”
As for Pattinson, Reeves explains there were specific films in the actor's back catalogue that inspired him. "Of course, the idea [to fit with the Year One story] was to make him a younger actor,” he says. “And in the process of writing the movie, I watched [the fantastic 2017 Safdie brothers film] Good Time, and I thought, ‘Okay, he’s got an inner kind of rage that connects with this character and a dangerousness, and I can feel this desperation.’ And I became dead-set on it being Rob. And I had no idea if Rob had any interest! Because, of course, he had done all of these indie movies after he established himself in Twilight.”
Elsewhere, the Esquire article cites Martin Scorsese's masterpiece Taxi Driver and the neo-noir classic Chinatown as key influences on The Batman. Those are some highly prestigious titles to drop in the conversation about the new movie, but Reeves is confident in his creation, saying: "I’m very proud of it. I felt it was the best version of the story that we could possibly do to justify having another Batman. You always have to have a reason, and from the beginning that was the mission for me.”
Co-starring Colin Farrell, Zoe Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright and Andy Serkis, The Batman is released in Cineworld cinemas on 4th March. Want more? Check out composer Michael Giacchino's theme for The Batman.